Wellness is a state of being that denotes soundness, wholeness, strength. It is a totality of being in which nothing is missing or broken. An occurrence of such wellness is in Luke 17:19 when Jesus said to a Samaritan man, who was suffering from leprosy, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”
The word well in this verse is translated from a Greek word that is from the root word sozo, which most often translates in its various forms as save, salvation, savior, etc. ] The wellness conveyed by the word sozo is one of complete rescue: deliverance from all harm and into total safety. The physical healing that Jesus gave to the man with leprosy rescued the man from the ravages of a disease that was destroying both his body and his life. Cleansing the man’s body of physical decay made the man physically well again. But it was in filling the voids in the man’s flesh that sin wit its accompanying sickness had stolen.
But physical wellness was not what caused Jesus to declare the man well/saved, for the man was but one of ten lepers who had all been healed by Jesus that day. Instead, Jesus made the declaration after that man alone returned to praise God for the healing that he had been given. Throwing himself at Jesus’ feet, the man gratefully submitted the new life that he had received back to the One who had made it his reality. Jesus did not cleanse the lepers that day with the intention that they would return to their former ways of living. But He did so to give them an opportunity if they would so choose to accept it, to go as He sent them into new lives, promoting God’s kind of wellness in others by testifying with thanksgiving to the goodness of God that Jesus manifests.
To witness the power of God’s goodness at work, restoring wellness that undoes seemingly irreparable brokenness, makes believing the incredible reality of Jesus as being the Son of God and Savior more readily accepted by people who might otherwise pay Him little heed. Jesus told a group of Galileans, “Unless you people see miracles, signs, and wonders… you will never believe.” (John 4:48) The Greek word translating as see in this verse is horao and can often refer to spiritual perception. The insight gained from witnessing miracles would indeed be needed by many people to enable them to be fully persuaded of the Truth of God’s grace in Jesus.
In Mark 2, teachers of the law heard Jesus forgive a paralyzed man of his sins. Rightly, they recognized that no one but God could accomplish such a feat. So, to substantiate both His identity and His ability to forgive what mankind cannot, Jesus restored the man’s physical freedom, enabling the man to rise up and walk. Not a person present, who witnessed the event, would ever be able to deny the reality of the restoration that supported the words of forgiveness that Jesus had spoken.
Every act of Jesus throughout His ministry affirmed not only His words but also His identity. In essence, His actions said, “This is who I AM. This is what I do. I AM the One who restores all, both the spiritual and the physical.”
Jesus’ very name means “YAHWEH saves” or “YAHWEH is salvation.” Expanded, the name is the sum totality of YAHWEH rescues, YAHWEH delivers, YAHWEH makes well, YAHWEH preserves, YAHWEH restores.
The totality of wellness that is wrapped up in the word sozo is all unveiled in the revelation of Jesus. Not once did Jesus leave any individual to whom He ministered with an only partially restored debilitation. In Mark 8, Jesus laid His hands a second time on a blind man whose vision was only partly restored the first time that Jesus did so. Jesus remained committed to the man’s wholeness by remaining present with the man until the restoration was complete. But beyond that surface message, the event also symbolizes the two-part total spiritual and physical restoration that Jesus was on earth to provide.
In addressing people’s physical needs, Jesus also simultaneously addressed their right beliefs of God by typically first teaching and preaching the Truth of God, before he would then heal the sick —those who knew that they were not well. The New Testament’s use of the Greek word hugies, which most often translates in the Bible into the English word well, is derived from the root word auzano, the meaning of which corroborates two-part wellness. Auzano means “healthy, i.e. Well (in the body); figuratively, true (in doctrine) – sound, whole”.
Wellness is wholeness that manifests in this world as the soundness of both body and soul (mind, will, and emotions). As the communication center between the body and the spirit, the soul is where input is received and decisions are made. The soul’s wellness is vital, for decisions made in this temporal world, in addition to either enhancing or degrading life here and now, can also lead to either everlasting spiritual life or death. Jesus Himself stated the need for a complete restoration, saying, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Mark 2:17b)
Healthy in this verse is translated from isxyo, meaning “…embodied strength that ‘gets into the fray (action), i.e. engaging the resistance.” It “refers to the Lord strengthening them with combative, confronting force to achieve all he gives strength for.” Similarly, auzano, the word stated above as corroborating two-part wellness, means to grow, increase or mature in any manner of size or strength. In combining definitions, a healthy being—a body or soul that is able to overcome attacks against its well-being—is indicated as being one who has God-given strength to stand against (defy) all that opposes wellness. Strength, health, wellness is from God, giving life.
And the prayer characterized by faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. If he has committed sins with present effects, it will be forgiven him. Therefore, openly confess these sins to one another, and pray for the benefit of one another, for the purpose of being supernaturally healed. Very combative (engaging, overcoming) is the specific (urgent) request of a divinely-approved person who is energized (by God). (James 5:15, 16—Greek text)
Healing is addressed as being more than a natural event. The word healing is translated from ioamai, defined as “healing, particularly as supernatural and bringing attention to the Lord Himself as the Great Physician.”
This is what occurred in Luke 17:19 when the one leper of the ten whom Jesus had healed returned in right thinking to worship God after witnessing his own supernatural physical healing take place. The man rightly glorified Jesus, not the healing, giving the man what the other nine lacked: two-part restoration. Both the man’s body and his doctrine—the Truth of God that Jesus reveals—were made right.
When a right believing heart and mind connect body and spirit, as a whole, in alignment with God, praise comes forth as faith that expresses itself through prayer (dialogue with God). Such prayer contains an expectation of a response from God that best builds up that which is lacking in any given situation, giving strength where needed.
When the sick and sinners are lifted up to God in prayer, strengthening occurs in various ways through right (righteous) relationships with God that depend fully upon Jesus’ own right standing with His Father. Jesus is the only pathway through which both our lack of strength is acknowledged to God, confessing our right need of God; and strength in any form is delivered back from the Father, through Jesus, in response to the prayer. Through Jesus alone are the weak made strong and the debilitated enabled to fully stand. In the Name of Jesus, right prayer praises God in gratitude for God’s forthcoming response before it is received. Such prayer is that which, when offered, is received as worshipful faith, for it trusts God to deliver on His given Word.
On the other hand, a wrong believing heart and mind concerning God can be counterproductive to overall health and wellness. In failing to believe and depend upon the Truth of God, doubt can conceive sin in the form of words and actions that are void of faith. Then once born, those words and actions can themselves produce debilitating kin, such as guilt, shame, fear, sickness, etc. The destruction that is wreaked, adding to debilitation can then, in turn, generate even more wrong thinking about God, self, and others in a self-propelling downward spiral of misgivings and despair.
Such was the condition of the-woman-at-the-well (and the world as a whole) when Jesus met the woman. Though the-woman-at-the-well is not known to have been sick physically, she was not well. Indeed, she was suffering in multiple ways from debilitating isolation that had been produced by much wrong thinking: her own and that of others.